MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday consolidated the more than 25 petitions filed questioning the legality of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020, noting it will hold oral arguments on the case next month.
“The Supreme Court will be conducting oral arguments on the 3rd week of September, at the earliest. The proper notices will be issued once the date is finalized,” SC spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said in a message to reporters.
“No TRO (temporary restraining order) has yet been issued. In fact, part of the order to the respondents is to comment on the petition and application for TRO,” he said.
The SC en banc ordered the consolidation of the six petitions on the ATA with the 19 petitions earlier filed before it, Hosaka said.
He added that the respondents have been ordered to file their comments to the six new petitions within 10 days.
Solicitor General Jose Calida earlier said RA 11479 is already in effect even if the government has yet to craft its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).
Calida, citing precedent cases previously decided on by the Supreme Court, such as SEC v. IRC decided in 2008, said laws are not contingent on the implementing rules.
He also said the law has already complied with the requirement of publication having been published in both the online and print copy of the Official Gazette as required by law.
The ATA was not only posted on the Official Gazette’s website on July 3 but was also subsequently published on the print edition of Official Gazette on July 6.
He added that the law is “self-executing”, except for provisions in the law delegating functions to the Anti-Terrorism Council and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Corrections to craft purely administrative rules for the effective implementation of policies.
In an earlier consolidated comment filed before the SC, Calida said suits questioning the law are premature and pointed out the absence of cases or “actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable”.
He added the petitioners’ invocation that the law would create a “chilling effect” is insufficient to bring their claims under the penal statute and is not susceptible to a “facial” challenge before the courts.
Citing precedent cases, the top government counsel said one can challenge the constitutionality of a statute only if he asserts a violation of his own rights.
He also said since every law is presumed valid, the party should rebut this presumption. (PNA)